Tobi works for two companies at the same time. Taking care of both of them comes with a lot of different responsibilities and tasks. He always got distracted by subtasks and it was hard for him to stay focused. Furthermore, he was interested in how much time he is spending on each project, that’s why he wanted to try out Timeular.
Mornings with yoga, meditation … and Timeular
He starts his day around 6:00 am with a session of 8 min Tabata, 8 min of Yoga and a short meditation. “Throughout that procedure, my mind is completely focused.” After that he quickly prepares a healthy shake for breakfast and starts writing down his daily plan.
Tobi’s day is structured in 2 big tasks, one he has to do and one he wants to do. “This keeps me motivated working in my ‘zone’.”
“Discipline is most important. In order to push this I work with 20min ‘tomatoe timers’ and binaural frequencies (and classical music).”
As activities, he tracks the tasks within his companies and the ones he does for external partners. “A good structure of how you spend your time is the most important thing for self-employed people. Basically, I pick the activities according to the people I work with.”
Now: 4 focused hours a day
Tobi now has 4 hours per day to remain in the “zone” which was not possible for him before. He also really likes the physical Tracker. “I forget to start or stop the timer less ;)”
Tobi’s tip: find your own personal morning routine
“Try to find your (personal!) perfect morning routine (including nutrition and sport), learn to find your way how to structure yourself, there are many options and techniques, handwritten or digitally.”
Tobi would start by looking for what others are doing to get some inspiration. “There are big speakers and mentors like Tim Ferris, Tony Robbins and Hal Elrod – these are more for bookworms. Alternatively, you can speak with successful people in your environment, who have similar mindsets.”
“It’s like a puzzle. First, you need to find the right pieces, then you need to try and see what happens and if they fit.”
Therefore it is important to have the discipline or your own system to keep you accountable and to make it a habit/routine.
Tobi Deckert is the CEO and product developer of ShredRack and tronature. He helps others to achieve their ultimate adventure during travel and sports throughout the right products.
You feel that you’re not giving your best. You know you could perform better. And you fear that the lack of performance could cost you your job or business.
So what comes in the way? Maybe it’s the lack of energy, motivation, focus or confidence. But…
What if I told you that even the top-performers face the same issues? And they still manage to stay at the top by performing at their peak levels.
What if I told you that you have the potential to perform way better? As a result, you could make much more money by getting a promotion or growing your business.
What if I told you that you don’t have to work more hours to get more done? So you can finally ditch addiction to work and enjoy time off because you know you’re more productive than ever before.
The secret behind work performance is not putting in more hours. It’s about raising your performance and work capacity so you can get more done in less time while doing better quality of work.
I’m sure you want that, don’t you?
The good news: Anyone can become a high-performer because it has nothing to do with intelligence or talent.
Here’s how you can improve your work performance and increase your productivity:
1. Never Forget The Big Picture
Productivity is not just about tweaks, hacks, tools, apps, and tips to work faster because those contribute to only a small portion of your productivity potential.
First, you must define the goal and purpose behind productivity. You can make the most productive person on Earth unproductive if you ask them to be productive for the reasons that don’t excite them.
So it’s not that you’re lazy or unmotivated, you just have to align your values, goals, and purpose with the reasons you want to be productive.
To do so, define your specific important goal, dig the reason you want to achieve that goal, identify the obstacles you’re likely to face and get clear about the action steps you need to take. Once you’re out of the planning mode, it’s time to commit and begin.
That’s the homework you must do before becoming productive.
2. Train Like An Athlete
Every role involves key skill sets that you need to use regularly. While productivity gurus keep suggesting apps and tools to make your workflow more convenient, they rarely talk about the hard part you must do to be significantly more productive.
That hard part is to train your skills like an athlete. It could mean the deliberate practice of your key skills or the pursuit of lifelong learning.
This doesn’t mean you get into the dirty comparison game, it means you aim for mastery because of the purpose you defined in the previous step. So keep raising your standards and keep showing up to your practice or learning sessions.
3. Manage Your Energy First!
In the book The Power Of Full Engagement, Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr say that there are four types of energy we need to maintain to perform at our best — physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
There’s a lot you can do to manage your energy. Here are the key points to get started:
Take care of the fundamentals i.e. Eat, move, sleep, breathe and recover right.
Ride your energy waves i.e. Make use of the energy rhythms and times when you’re most productive and take breaks to recharge yourself.
Maintain flow state by removing distractions, single-tasking and balancing your skills and the challenge.
Listen to your body and recover on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis (or whichever schedule is best for you) before depleting all your energy.
4. Now Manage Your Time & Tasks
Before you manage your time, you must identify where your time goes. You can use the Timeular Tracker for tracking your time. You’d be surprised to notice how much of your time is wasted in small distractions.
The next step is to eliminate everything that’s a waste of your time because if you want to add something meaningful to your life, you must remove what’s clogging up your time.
Don’t continue doing something simply because you’ve always done it. According to Pareto’s principle, identify the 20% of the tasks that get you 80% of the results and prioritize them above everything else. To help you do that, you can:
Prioritize and use time-blocks to schedule the most important things in your life There’s a saying that goes “if it’s not on your calendar, it doesn’t exist”.
Automatically schedule reoccurring tasks to show up consistently for getting important things done.
Use checklists to save time and energy on reoccurring tasks.
Create imaginary deadlines and use timers to have a sense of urgency while working to cure procrastination (study).
Batch similar tasks together to get things done faster.
You can delete, automate or delegate the rest of the 80% of the non-critical tasks (aka time-suckers). Remember: if you don’t respect your time and energy, you won’t have it in abundance.
5. Get Tracking To Measure Productivity
You won’t know how much more productive you become if you don’t measure your productivity. So you must define your own productivity criteria for measuring productivity, which you can tie with the purpose and goal of productivity that we defined in the first step.
Then, you must measure your actions before you measure the outcome. Actions define how much work you’re putting in, while the outcome results from your actions.
If you notice that you’re getting more done, but you still don’t see progress in the outcome, you must reflect or get feedback so you can get the right things done. That way, the outcome will match your increased productivity.
It’s up to you how you measure your actions. You can use an app, software, excel sheet or pen and paper. Pick a method and get tracking so you can focus on what matters and celebrate your small wins!
6. Tackle The Setbacks Like A Boss
On your path of becoming more productive, you’ll encounter many obstacles including procrastination, distractions, emotions, doubt, fear, overwhelm, and so on.
But you don’t lose the battle unless you give up. You can work on developing a growth mindset, grit, stress tolerance, etc.
The obstacles exist to make you stronger, so embrace them. Instead of depending on your feelings, change your identity to show up consistently and become unstoppable.
7. Use The Productivity System That Makes Sense To You
While there are a lot of productivity systems, there’s no universal best method for everyone. We all have different needs — so create a personal productivity system that works for you. Here’s an example of what you can come up with:
Whether you follow a system or create your own, the important thing is to have a productivity system so you can spend less time organizing and more time doing.
Our “work more” mentality is so hard-wired that sometimes, we forget the point of productivity — to perform at your peak so you can not only produce more but enjoy your time off.
Imagine all the things you could do with the free time on your hands when you perform better in less time. You could spend time with your friends and family, work on your hobbies, start a side project, read books, pay attention to your health and wellbeing, learn a new skill, play, or maybe just relax for a while. The time is yours to claim.
Prakhar is the creator of Design Epic Life where he helps ambitious people design their epic lives for high-performance and success. He writes about life, self-improvement, happiness, productivity and other topics related to designing a better life. Get his free cheatsheet to design your daily success checklist for free when you sign up at DesignEpicLife.com.
David White works as a managing director at Menlo Coaching. He and his colleagues want to make sure they have enough time for each of their clients and don’t overbook their schedules. Thus, it is very important for them to have records of how much time it takes to serve a client and how much spare time is available in their calendars.
Finally having enough time for each client
Before David used Timeular, he used post-it notes to keep track of his time. “This was unreliable and difficult to tabulate.”
With Timeular he knows exactly how much time he has available for new projects. He tracks the time spent working with clients, speaking to prospective clients administrative tasks and the time he is spending with his team.
“We limit the number of clients we take on in order to be sure that we have enough time to provide a great service to each client.”
Timeular analytics: “It’s time to hire a new person”
Tracking administrative time helped David to identify when he needed to hire an additional person. “Keeping accurate time tracking records motivated me to hire a new person in our finance department”.
By doing so he was reducing the amount of time he spent on administration. He also hired a contractor to supplement his own efforts in marketing, therefore extracting more value from his time.
David’s tip: Track, track, track your time
Track all of your time. Using the Tracker only when you’re at your desk would leave you with inaccurate records. Try the mobile app on the go.
David White works as a managing director at Menlo Coaching. They help applicants to top MBA programs, like Harvard Business School, Wharton and London Business School, to maximize their chances of acceptance and make the most of the MBA once they enro
Leona works as Senior Architect at Farnsworth Group.
Some days Leona works on 5 to 6 different projects and juggles any general office administration tasks in between. It was difficult for Leona to know exactly how much time she spent on these tasks and to decide which ones to optimize. She knew that timesheets would help to get clarity, but she had to instantly fill them in as otherwise, she forgot how long it took her.
“It’s not always easy tracking how much time I’ve spent – that’s where Timeular comes in.”
Timeular makes it easy for her to prioritize and fill in timesheet
Leona starts her workday by selecting the task which has the highest priority due to schedules or deadlines. She chooses one for the first half of the day and maybe another one for the second half.
Tasks for other projects or administration tasks pop up and need to be taken care of instantly. Once they are done, she goes back to her prioritized task.
She tracks each task she is taking care of and then compares billable vs non-billable hours and re-evaluates her priorities based on this accurate information. To know if it is billable or non-billable time, Leona simply tracks her projects (which are paid) and general office administration. “If there is a specific billable item which needs to be tracked for a project I usually just add a note to the logged time.”
“The billable hours I am entering on my timesheet are more accurate and providing a better value to the clients for my time.”
Analytics help her keep administrative tasks under control
The analytics help her see how much time she has spent on a specific task for either just a day (for her timesheet) or to verify how much total time she has spent on a particular project. “This makes it easier to check if we have gone over our contracted work hours,” she says.
If administrative tasks are consuming more time, Leona reviews what she might have done that day or week. “I decide whether or not it is an issue before taking action. Some days or weeks are heavy with company-based meetings required training sessions which really can’t be helped.”
Leona’s tip: Put your Tracker where you can see it
If you use the Tracker, make sure to place it in a location where you can remember to flip it when you change tasks. It’s easy to forget if you don’t have it directly in your line of sight.
Leona works as Senior Architect at Farnsworth Group, a national Architectural, Engineering and Civil Surveying firm who provide design services for Commercial and Private Industries as well as Local and Federal Government sectors.
“Understand that time is your most precious resource in life. You can get more food, you can make more money, but you can never make more time. Use it wisely and spend it intentionally.”
Ben not only needs to take care of his business. He also plays in a band, is the music director and pastor for an online campus and a father. For getting more balance into his different responsibilities, he needed something that made sure that the right tasks are getting his attention for the right amount of time. That’s what he uses Timeular for.
“When I identify an imbalance I can address it and make changes to my schedule to make sure everything keeps moving forward and nothing gets left behind.”
How Ben uses Timeular in his daily life
Ben starts his day by writing his To-Dos into a Bullet Journal and then begins to check them off.
The mornings are for deep work time. That’s when he does creative work or tasks that are mentally taxing. “Get that stuff done when your brain is fresh.”
Afternoons are reserved for administrative tasks that don’t require as much mental overhead and for spending time with his 5-year-old son.
He identified the major tasks that he does on a daily basis and used them as his activities. He tracks Production workflows, meetings, coaching, administration and finance, email and phone calls, and IT Support.
Since his activities are rather generic, he uses tags and notes to specify them. Ben assigns them to clients and marks them as #billable or #notbillable. Moreover, he uses the notes to briefly describe what he was doing at that time.
“With that information, I can see which clients are using more of my time and make sure that I’m billing my clients appropriately.”
He uses the data he gets from his Analytics to determine which aspects of his business require most of his time. After that, he will bring on employees to take on some of that load. “I guess Timeular is a job creation tool as well, who knew?”
See time as your financial budget
“For me, Timeular is like a financial budget, but for time instead of money. Without Timeular I wouldn’t have a clear picture of how my time is being spent and if that time is making me money or losing it. Timeular is an invaluable tool for me not just for business but for making sure that my life is moving in the same direction as my goals.”
Ben’s tip: create generic activities and specify them in the notes
Ben suggests making your activities generic. That way it doesn’t matter which client you’re working for or what project you’re working on. Choosing the appropriate task is so easy – you don’t have to think about it. And of course, you can then use the notes to specify them.
“I haven’t really had any challenges with Timeular. It’s easy to get it up and running quickly, improvements are constantly being made to the software, and the few times I’ve needed to contact support they’ve been responsive and helpful.”
Ben is the founder and owner of Braveo. Lots of businesses struggle to clearly communicate how they help their customers. Braveo helps businesses clarify their marketing and make more money.
Warren is the owner of Warren Laine-Naida Digital Consulting, a consultancy that helps small business manage their online tools. As an owner, he has many different responsibilities and he wanted to track them without putting too much effort into it.
Before using Timeular, he was spending too much time tracking what he was doing. He wanted to not keep looking at a clock and find an easier way to track his time.
“I also wanted to be fair to myself and clients that it was 45 minutes and not an hour.”
Analyze your meetings to make them more efficient
Warren tracks all aspects of his business by using the activities: Meetings, Individual Projects, Design, Programming, Measurement, Travel and Research. Meetings are what he pays a lot of attention to and tracks more in detail.
He uses Tags for taking down details of a meeting.
“It’s important for the team to see how we can better prioritise our time and be more efficient.”
For the purpose of the meetings Warren uses tags like #brand-A, #campaign-idea, #campaign-design and for the quality of the meeting he uses e.g. #good, #zoom, #too-many-peeps.
If they have the same sort of meeting (e.g. for an online campaign) for two different brands, he then compares them. Did one take longer than another? How many people attended? Is there something we should take into consideration when planning the next meeting?
“Meetings are probably one of the biggest consumers of our time – and if we are to increase velocity we need to look where we may be spending too much time for example, in our ideas and design sessions.”
No more wasting time by tracking time
He was spending 30 minutes a day tracking his time. Now with Timeular it’s only 10 minutes. Over the week he saved 1.5 hours. “Where were you all my life?”, he laughed.
“Timeular is the best thing since sliced bread. Unless you are billing your time tracking on top, get
Warren’s tip: use the mobile app for on the go
“I was so fixated on the cube that I did not immediately realise that I could track simply on the
phone app. So I was taking the cube with me on the train and flights. That was amusing,” Warren
laughs. You can simply track your time manually, without the Tracker, on the phone.
“My first computer was a Radio Shack Tandy TRS-80. That’s how far back I go ;o)” Warren is the owner of Warren Laine-Naida Digital Consulting. He helps small business manage their online tools, so they have more one to one time with their customers.
As a remote worker, it’s very easy to lose focus and get distracted by the things one needs to do around the house. “Every working day is typically about 7 hours of billable work, but if I take an hour lunch, walk the dog twice in the middle of the day, try to start laundry, etc… I found that I’m spending nearly 11 hours just to get my 7 hours of billable in to ‘call it a day’.”
Chris works as a web developer at Happy Cog. When working remotely it can be challenging to not let other household duties stretch your workday.
Chris knew that the first step to master this challenge would be to get clarity about the situation and start tracking his time.
He could then use this data to focus on getting his work done in fewer hours.
How Chris tracks his time in detail
In the beginning, he had a long list of activities: “I used to have every individual side project as their own activity, but then I decided to merge them and use #tags and @mentions to track the individual projects”.
He narrowed the list down to a few personal and work activities. For work, he tracks his Top-level projects as individual activities and uses the @mentions for individual issues. For his side projects, he uses one activity called Personal activities.
Additionally, he has one activity called General activity that is a catch-all during work hours. On this side he tracks things like stepping away to the bathroom, grabbing lunch and walking his dog.
More focus time by shifting non-work related activities
The distinction between “not working activities” and “working activities” helped Chris see how much time he wasn’t focused on work. “The more time I spend on General every day the more time I need to make up later that evening.”
The analytics showed him that he had way too many tiny entries. “They were just 5-10 minutes long because my focus would keep shifting. ” He saw that he needed 11 hours to get his 7 hours of billable work done. That’s when he knew he had to change something.
He started shifting his household duties to later in the day. In addition, he said no to a lot of other things that took away his focus for work.
This helped him narrow down his working day and created a longer period of focused time. AND more free time afterwards.
Chris works remotely as a web developer for Happy Cog, a full-service digital agency that combines design, development, and marketing to solve complex business problems using a creative and user centered approach. Timeular is on his side since September 2018.
Ally is an engineer and an author. As an engineer, she got interrupted a lot:
“There were heaps of unplanned tasks delaying my actual work.”
These tasks kept her from being focused and getting her work done. Furthermore, she had to hand in a timesheet for her work and provide her boss with the number of hours she worked for different clients “which was more like a random guesstimation.”
Fewer disturbances & better estimating
After one month Ally trained herself to have a natural instinct of tracking her time. And it was worth the effort:
“On average, I have four times fewer disturbances than I did a year ago.”
After the Analytics showed her how much she got distracted, she decided to reject a lot more things.
Ally tracked her disturbances to see how much time they consumed. She had one side with a flash ↯ for that. Whenever someone interrupted her she switched to the ↯ . “This was amusing for my colleagues and they were like ‘oh, oh, she turns the Tracker to the flash!”
After she saw in her Analytics how much she got distracted, she decided to say “No” more often. The statistics helped Ally to practice discipline and to see her progress over time.
Bar chart showing the time Ally got interrupted from Augst 2018 to June 2019.
Moreover, she got better at estimations of tasks. “Historical data of how much time I’ve spent on a specific client is as accurate as it gets,” Ally reported. Her time sheets are generated by a macro that works with the .xlsx export.
It also brings psychological benefits, since one can see where the time went instead of having the feeling “like you did nothing at all”.
How to use #hashtags for client billing
With Timeular Ally tracks different activities for her work and freelance life.
“I tried to come up with activities that were broad enough for different projects, yet distinct enough. Then I chose the most used ones for the Tracker.”
The other activities, that she doesn’t need all the time are just tracked in the app. She tracks Regular Work, Deep work (Getting Things Done), Calls, Breaks, Meetings, Unplanned, small activities, external appointments, travel time and education/training. For her freelance life, she tracks writing, editing work, timeline-work, research, and backstory.
Ally wants to know how much time she spends on different clients and on which tasks. This helps her have a better sense of how much to charge. For billing the right client, she uses #tags to write down the client’s internal ID. “If I have to call a client back, it’s an entry for the activity “phone call” with a note ‘#ID:801’. When a project is done, I’ll search my data for “#ID:801” and book the hours in the specific JIRA-case. It’s a matter of fifteen minutes at most, if you’re booking grouped by actual activity.
To see how many hours are collectively spent on meetings, Ally uses the @mention function for writing down who actually attended them.
Ally’s tip: Don’t let your data just rot there.
“Track meticulously, but also look at your data. Don’t just let it rot there.”
Don’t just track your time for the sake of tracking your time. Look at the data you get out of it, because you will only be able to improve something if you reflect on what you are currently doing.
“If you’re working in an office environment, you’re gonna be shocked how little of your day is spent on actual productive work, ” Ally laughed.
Ally is an engineer and an author. She started using Timeular a year ago.
Alistair works as a director at Stretch Electrical Limited. The company is specialized in the electrical safety testing sector of the facilities management market. He splits his workday into administrative tasks in the morning and sales work in the afternoon.
“I try my best to keep the split between admin and sales; however, I often find myself spending most of the day doing administrative tasks and neglecting the sales side of the business.”
25% increase in sales in one month using Timeular
After 1 month of using Timeular, Alistair already stopped wasting his time on unimportant tasks and moved a little time around. Now he was able to spend 3 additional hours on sales every day. Therefore he increased the company’s independent electrical work revenue by 25%.
Alistair started by getting a detailed overview of how he spent his time. He tracked: Learning Japanese(yep, more about Japanese later), Sales, Admin, Recruitment, Reports & Invoices, Schedulingand Distractions.
“When you’re not tracking your time you don’t get an appreciation of how much time you’re actually wasting.” – Alistair tells us.
The accurate data provided him clarity about where to invest more time and where to get it from. He especially tackled and reduced specific non-work activities.
“I’m not working faster at particular tasks, I’m just not wasting time during the day when I could actually be working. … It’s about working smarter”.
How to learn Japanese with Timeular
On top of getting his workday organized, Alistair learned Japanese with Timeular. “You have to learn another two alphabets just to write the basic language and this requires a lot of time to study.”
He found it didn’t feel like he was getting anywhere even though he studied. That’s why he tracked his study time. “If Timeular tells me I haven’t put in much study in my week, this info pushes me to do more.”
It holds him accountable for studying more and lends encouragement when he sees the amount of work he has actually put in.
Alistair’s tip: If you don’t know what to track, here’s how you do it
Before assigning the activities, take time to think about what you actually want from Timeular. What insights into your business do you want to gain? What is it that you want to learn about your time-spending behaviour? Make a list of the activities you want to track and then try to batch them together. It’s easier to have fewer activities because you don’t have to constantly remember to switch it to the new side. For example, for voicemails and emails, your activity could be Client Communications instead of being two separate tasks.
Alistair works as a director at Stretch Electrical Limited. The company specializes in the electrical safety testing sector of the facilities management market, providing competitive quotations and excellent customer care to businesses large and small. They offer a variety of services such as portable appliance testing, fixed installation testing, emergency lighting testing, thermal imaging, and fire alarm testing as well as general electrical remedial works.
Our mission at Timeular is to enable you to spend more time on what really matters. Accurate time tracking and a great overview of your time spending is a crucial first step in that direction, which is finally available with Timeular 2.0 ?
To improve how we spend our time towards our goals, we strongly believe in the Track-Understand-Improve cycle.
Track your time and get objective data on how you spend it.
Understand where your time goes and discover timesinks.
Improve: Find ways to improve based on your possibilities and measure your progress.
This update marks a big milestone along our journey and after months of designing, discussing, development and testing we could not be prouder to finally get your hands onto it.
So what is new in Timeular 2.0?
Besides a ton of improvements and fixes under the hood, the interface of Timeular has fundamentally changed. Curious? Let’s dive right in. Here are the top 4 changes in Timeular 2.0.
The weekly view is the all-new appearance of Timeular as a calendar like application. It gives you a view onto a whole week of your time data and allows you to easily spot gaps as well as things you might want to take a closer look at.
Seamlessly navigate through different weeks by using the week-by-week navigation or date picker. This allows you to easily check up on your time tracking for any weeks or discover time spending patterns across weeks.
You can easily zoom in and out to choose the level of detail you want to get on your data. So zoom out to get a rough overview over what you did when, or zoom in to get into the nitty gritty and inspect every short distraction and how it affected your day.
2) Time Entries
Time entries in your timeline give you all the needed information like activity, duration or note at a glance or by hovering over small entries. Time entries can be dragged and visually modified in the interface making it easier than ever to apply small changes.
With weekly view, creating, changing and deleting time entries has never been easier. Simply drag or click to create or edit a time entry, get smart input fields and elements to apply your changes and visually move time entries around using drag and drop. Time entries smartly snap into place so you don’t need to edit them later.
Consecutive small time entries are grouped together so they are not overlooked while giving you all the needed information and access to more details with just a click. This allows you to have a birds-eye view on the structure of your week, while still seeing little distractions that pop out.
In your time tracking, you can’t do two things at the same time (don’t get me started on multitasking ?). So weekly view helps you to deal with conflicts of different time entries in your timeline. If you change a time entry and it conflicts with others, Timeular now gives you a great overview of the situation and allows you to easily overwrite interferences or revert changes.
With weekly view, starting, stopping and switching your time tracking is always just one click away. With all your activities visible at the sidelines, simply click the play/stop icons to change the current tracking. Add notes and tags to your current tracking right here to categorise your time and get great insights later.
4) Tracker Status
While all this gives you a great way to use the Timeular app, it all comes together with the Timeular Tracker. You can now always see the status of your Tracker right in the weekly view.
We at Timeular believe that getting a clear picture and overview over where one’s time goes is the best starting point for understanding habits and patterns and discovering things to improve. This is why we built Timeular 2. Sounds good to you? Join our deep-dive-webinar on April 10th to learn more.
Please let us know if you need help or have feedback for us. Happy to hear from you anytime.
Make your time count. ⏰
P.S.: A humongous thank you to the whole team, Wolfgang, Oleksii, our alpha testers and all amazing people using Timeular every day and giving us such great feedback.
P.P.S.: Like the update? Please share the love: Twitter | Facebook